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Delaware Center for Maternal & Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, Inc.
Abby Medical Center Office: One Centurian Drive, Suite 312, Newark, DE 19713
Christiana Hospital: 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Suite 1992,Newark, DE 19718
Phone: (302) 319-5680    Website: www.DCMFM.com
Prenatal Testing Options

There are several tests available to give you information about your pregnancy.  All of these tests are optional since the decision to pursue prenatal testing can be very personal.  The prenatal testing options can be broken down into two categories – screening and diagnostic tests.      

Screening Tests

Screening tests do not diagnose chromosome conditions, but rather give a personalized chance that the pregnancy could have one of these conditions. Screening tests are non-invasive and do not have a risk for risk for miscarriage.  However, there is a risk that these tests could falsely worry you (report that the risk for a condition is high when the pregnancy is not affected, which is also known as a false positive) or falsely reassure you (report that the risk for a condition is low when the pregnancy is affected, which is also known as a false negative). Some women use screening tests to help them make decisions regarding whether they would like to pursue diagnostic testing. 

  • First Trimester Screen This screening test uses the information from a blood test (performed between 9 and 13 weeks of pregnancy) and an ultrasound (performed at 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy) to screen for pregnancies affected with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13.  It is estimated that up to 91% of pregnancies affected with Down syndrome and up to 95% of pregnancies affected with trisomy 18 and 13 will be detected with this test.  
  • Second Trimester Screening(AFP Tetra screening/Quad Screen) This screening test is a blood test performed between 15 and 21 weeks of pregnancy to screen for pregnancies affected with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and open neural tube (spine) defects. It is estimated that 70-75% of pregnancies affected with Down syndrome, 60% of pregnancies affected with trisomy 18, and an 80-90% of pregnancies affected with neural tube defects would be detected with this test. ***Typically women choose to do either first trimester screening or second trimester screening and do NOT do both of these screening tests.  
  • AFP Only (MSAFP) This screening test is a blood test performed between 15-21 weeks of pregnancy to screen for pregnancies affected with open neural tube (spine) defects.  This test is designed for women who previously had either first trimester screening or CVS conducted in their current pregnancy.  It is estimated that approximately 80-90% of pregnancies affected with open neural tube defects would be detected with this screening test.   
  • Detailed Anatomy Ultrasound A detailed ultrasound that is typically conducted between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.  This ultrasound screens for birth defects and markers associated with Down syndrome and other chromosome conditions.  Approximately 65-70% of cases of Down syndrome, 85-90% of cases of trisomy 18 and trisomy 13, and 90-95% of cases of neural tube (spine) defects can be detected by 20 weeks of pregnancy when a level II ultrasound is performed by a doctor with specialized training.   
  • Cell Free Fetal DNA This screening test is a blood test performed anytime after 10 weeks gestation to screen for pregnancies affected with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13.  It is available to woman with increased risk indicators (advanced maternal age, ultrasound anomalies, previous positive screening tests, or pertinent family histories) by detecting an increased amount of fetal chromosomal 21, 18, and 13 material that is circulating in your blood. It is estimated that up to 87.5% of pregnancies affected with trisomy 13, 97.4% of pregnancies affected with trisomy 18, and up to 99% of pregnancies affected with Down syndrome will be detected with this test.
  • Blood Test for Miscarriage Risk (SMFM)
       Click here for additional information.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests are more than 99% accurate in diagnosing chromosome conditions.  Testing for other specific genetic disorders known to be present in a family can often be performed.  These procedures have a miscarriage risk of approximately 1 in 200.

  • CVS (chorionic villus sampling) A small sample of early placental tissue is obtained either cervically or abdominally, depending on the location of the placenta. This test can be performed between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy.  
  • Amniocentesis A small sample of fluid is removed from the amniotic sac by inserting a very thin needle into a woman’s abdomen.  This test can be performed after 16 weeks of pregnancy.  The amniocentesis can also detect more than 95% of all open neural tube defects. *** Women choose to do either CVS or amniocentesis and NOT both of these procedures.